Thursday, 17 December 2015

An Old Problem

Two Coordinators, Trevelyan and Smokesmith, discuss their suspect, Murdoch:

"'...available data indicate that his companions are quite unintegrate.'
"'...yes, hard cases, none Earth-born, several nonhumans from raptor cultures among them.'"
-Poul Anderson, "The Pirate" IN Anderson, Starship (New York, 1982), pp.211-251 AT p. 220.

Later, when confronting this "unintegrate" crew, Trevelyan:

"...was aware that his own body quivered and went dry in the mouth. A remote part of him decided this was an unintegrate reaction and he needed more training." (p. 249)

These passages shed further light on some earlier posts. I thought that psychological conflicts had destroyed the Solar Union whereas it was cosmic complexity that was to overwhelm and destroy the Stellar Union. This view was correct as far as it went. However, the first problem had not yet been eradicated and indeed it also contributed to the fall of the Stellar Union. People on Earth had attained, or at least had begun to approach, integration of emotion with reason but two other groups had not:

some human beings born off Earth;
nonhumans from raptor cultures.

Thus, Sandra Miesel commented:

"One - even many - foes without could be vanquished; against the enemy within there was no defense. Given the prevailing stage of psychodevelopment, the innate contradictions with individuals and societies could not be resolved. Critical data that needed to be gathered surpassed the capacity of any organization to comprehend, much less coordinate. The Stellar Union flew apart like an overwound spring." (p. 252)

There are two points to note here -

(i) Against the enemy within, there was some defense. Coordinators received integration training. However, many more beings in extrasolar cultures did not.

(ii) Miesel mentions both problems, the stage of psychodevelopment and the inability to comprehend or coordinate critical data, but maybe runs them together, making them sound like a single problem? Of course, they interact. The Coordination Service:

"'...can't coordinate as many planets as are included in our civilization-range today. And that range is still expanding.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Peregrine (New York, 1979), Chapter IV, p. 30.

- and the problem is made even greater because many of those planets are inhabited by unintegrated populations. Noticing that Nomad fliers are armed, Trevelyan thinks:

"Earth thought it had achieved peace...and now this has blossomed again between the stars." (The Peregrine, Chapter VII, p. 51)

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